UPDATE: Early voting starts in Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Early voting starts in Wisconsin


MADISON (WKOW) -- More than 1,200 Madison residents have already voted in the presidential election.

Early voting in Wisconsin started Monday morning.

In 2008, more than 17,000 people voted early by in-person absentee ballot in Madison.

But that was over the course of four weeks.

This year, voters have only a two-week window to vote early.

Two years of seemingly non-stop elections in Wisconsin haven't seemed to slow down the enthusiasm level for early voting.

"We have had 500 voters in four hours so far today and the line has never been longer than 15 minutes long," said Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl at noon Monday.

It was clear to her the turnout would be well over one thousand voters on day one.

"In the past, we've taken quite a few days before it got to the point where we'd have a thousand voters in a day, but it really looks like we'll exceed that today, and typically the number of absentee voters will increase each day as we get closer to the election," said Witzel-Behl.

The early rush could be due to a much shorter timeframe this year.

In past presidential years, in-person absentee voting started when the clerk's received the ballots, usually four weeks ahead of election day.

"The law was changed this year to say that we couldn't start absentee voting in the Clerk's office until the third Monday before the election," said Witzel-Behl.

But the clerk's staff is ready for the same amount of voters or more this year.

"Its hard to compare because we've doubled our number of stations in the office for people to get their absentee ballot, so we can't compare the length of the line, because the line's moving a lot faster," said Witzel-Behl.

The Madison City Clerk's office will stay open until 7 p.m. on weeknights until Friday, November 2.  

It will also be open this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and next Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.


MADISON (WKOW) -- On the first day of early voting in Wisconsin, more than 500 people had already cast absentee ballots in-person at the City of Madison Clerk's Office by noon.

Some voters waited in line for about 15 minutes to cast their ballots, as election observers from the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Romney for President and Democratic Party Voter Protection looked on.

The Madison Clerk's Office has received roughly 5,000 completed absentee ballots by mail as of Monday, out of close to 9,000 it has sent out.

Click here for more information about absentee voting and here for more information about voting in Wisconsin.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Early voting starts Monday in Wisconsin. You can cast a ballot for the next two weeks if you already know who you want to vote for.

Experts say about one in three registered voters are expected to vote early in the 2012 election. You can do so at your local municipal clerk's office. Early voting ends Friday, November 2.

Click here for more information about absentee voting and here for more information about voting in Wisconsin.

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